Don't call it a hobby: Netflix and TiVo continue to push Internet TV into the living room

No longer content with dissing his company’s own offering, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is now calling the whole product category a “hobby”. But that isn’t stopping others from forging ahead to bring Internet TV into the living room, with both TiVo and Netflix rolling out partnerships this week to give their customers more content and hardware choices respectively. But first back to what Jobs said during the company’s Q4 earnings call on Tuesday.

“I think the whole category is still a hobby right now. I don’t think anybody has succeeded at it and actually the experimentation has slowed down”, said Jobs in answer to one analyst’s question about how Apple sees the digital living room opportunity in the next year. “A lot of the early companies that were trying things have faded away, so I’d have to say that given the economic conditions, given the venture capital outlooks and stuff, I continue to believe it will be a hobby in 2009.” (via Seeking Alpha)

That’s a fairly dire prognosis from Jobs, and suggests that the company might purposely be taking its eye off the ball when it comes to the living room, especially as Apple pursues more developed and profitable markets such as that of the iPhone (although you should always be careful when taking what Jobs says at face value). Either way, for those companies that are still in the market, now seems like an ideal opportunity for greater experimentation and to give consumers more non-Apple choices. On that note, let’s return to those announcements.

Netflix finally revealed that its much touted fourth set-top box partner is Samsung. Two of the company’s new Blu-ray players, the Samsung BD-P2550 and BD-P2500, can now access Netflix’s ‘Watch Now’ streaming service, either out of the box or via a firmware update (‘unlimited’ Netflix subscribers only). Samsung also announced that the BD-P2550 was adding support for the streaming music service Pandora (a last100 favorite). Samsung joins LG, Roku and Microsoft (Xbox 360) as Netflix’s current hardware partners.

See also: LG’s Netflix streaming Blu-ray player announced. What, no Wi-Fi?

Meanwhile, TiVo is moving forward with its previously announced plans to add further paid-content to its Internet-connected DVRs beyond films and TV shows from Amazon’s UnBox service. Jaman’s indie and foreign film content launches today, reports Dave Zatz, while Disney film rentals via CinemaNow will arrive next week.

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last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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